Posts Tagged: Yakkin’ About Culture
5

Game of Crones: A Chat About Jane Campion's "Top Of The Lake" So Far

Jane: Wow, so the third episode of Jane Campion's seven-part series, "Top of the Lake," aired last night and it wasn't until I started reading reviews that I realized how divisive Campion can be. Granted, this is her first television venture to be released in the U.S., and perhaps viewers are more used to Campion's lush aesthetic on big screen, but it's not like exaggerated dramatics are unknown quantities in TV-land either.

So I know we're both Campion enthusiasts (Bright Star, would other films be steadfast as thou art?!), and while I'm absolutely loving "Top of the Lake," there are definitely moments that leave me [...]

7

"House of Cards," Episodes 9-13: The Ones Where Everything Goes Nuts

Carrie: How smart of Netflix to release its series a week before a historic blizzard hit the Northeast. I wonder how many people who had no intention of ever watching this show ended up reluctantly streaming it this weekend, because it was that or the 9th rewatch of All About Eve or Grizzly Man?

Jane: Now, I don't think one could ever watch Grizzly Man enough times, but beside the point! (If Netflix ever wants to release a 13-part Herzog meditation on chaos and murder, though…) Did all of Netflixing NYC spend the weekend colluding with Frank Underwood? Inversely, when hysterics about snowfall (along with attendant talk of "House of [...]

33

The 17 Best Failed TV Shows Of The 80s (As Judged By Their Openings)

Sarah Marshall: I'm not especially proud of any of the hobbies I used to waste my free time, but perhaps the most inexplicable is my fondness for watching compilations of old TV themes on YouTube. As a general rule, I love all sludgy runoff of pop culture past and present, and the themes to failed 80s TV shows provide its most potent concentration: the montages, the glittery synth music, the streetwise detectives running on the beach in tiny shorts. I vacillate between feeling ashamed of how many no-name actors I routinely recognize, and feeling that I'm spending my leisure time in exactly the right way.

Michael Magnes: It's oddly thrilling [...]

26

'The Master': We Do Not Wish To Join Your Cult

Maria Bustillos: I'm trying to parse all these Metacritic reviews of The Master. Mainly they seem to be saying, "I hate it, but I think I'm supposed to. A masterpiece."

David Roth: David Thomson, in the New Republic, had a great first line. Which was "Well, at least it's pretentious."

MB: Yay? I'll say this, whoever reconstructed M. Phoenix's shoulders deserves a special Oscar. His bod is all Cubist, suddenly.

DR: It seems to me like this: a fine director made a mostly perfect-looking film, with an interesting musical score and fine performances. Except that it is also totally inert, with no real characters one can or could [...]

15

The 19 Best Failed TV Shows Of The 90s (As Judged By Their Openings)

Michael Magnes: When Sarah Marshall first told me about her hobby of watching old TV show themes on YouTube, I probably made fun of her, and then immediately told her about this early 90s Fox show called "Woops!" The exclamation point is part of the title. It was about last six humans on earth, survivors of a nuclear holocaust. They all found a farm somewhere in America and did things like fight giant spiders, have their aging process reversed, start their own currency, and find hallucinogenic berries. Later I'd find myself at parties trying to explain the show and no one believed me. They suggested I'd made it up, [...]

5

"House of Cards," Episodes 4-8: Who's Making Themselves Available?

Carrie: Jane, remember when the world was new, you were dewy-eyed and I was not yet so haggard, and "House of Cards" had only just become available for streaming on Netflix? It seems like years ago, but it was only last Friday.

Jane: Now it's a week later, Spandau Ballet's "True" is playing in this cafe, and if we were sitting together, I'd probably be telling you not to Bogart the whiskey. We've passed binge-viewing, Carrie, to re-watching, to you using "House of Cards" characters as verbs ("how much will I Peter Russo myself in the morning if I do this?"), to me looking up which of the series' actors [...]

7

'Not Fade Away': 5 Years After 'Sopranos,' Does David Chase Still Hate People?

Amy Monaghan: Talk to me about how, as a "Sopranos" fan, you felt about the news of a David Chase movie at long last, the coming-of-age-in-Jersey film Not Fade Away, which we are here to dismantle today.

Sean Burns: Mostly I wondered what took him five years. I knew Chase had taken off to France for a while, presumably hiding from the folks with torches and pitchforks after that "Sopranos" finale. But he has such a distinctive cinematic sensibility, I thought he'd be making movies a lot sooner.

Amy: His distinctive cinematic sensibility? Remember, I'm the only person on the planet to never watch "The Sopranos." No, wait, I [...]

38

Our Week With Marilyn

David: So, had your mind blown in a very understated way by any octogenarian restaurant critics lately?

Maria: Yes, and marveled at their sangfroid, also.

David: If we will all remember this past week as the one in which Marilyn Hagerty, elderly journalist in Grand Forks, North Dakota, became famous for a very factual review of a new Olive Garden—and was then punished for it by having to talk to Piers Morgan on CNN, as she will be tonight—it's still a little unclear how she and we got here. That is, I'm still trying to figure out what The Internet thought about all this. It had some [...]

23

Why We Need "Enlightened"

Michelle Dean: We have gathered here today because, and I think this is not an exaggerated term, we are devoted to "Enlightened," the struggling HBO show from Mike White that stars Laura Dern as Amy Jellicoe, a woman who… is struggling to figure out life. That sounds kind of patronizing, but it's the only way to put it.

Recently I found myself actively worrying about the show's potential cancellation as I went about my day. And I keep tossing around different reasons of articulating why. One is of course that like David Haglund at Slate, I think it's the most interesting show on television right now, as well as [...]

16

"House of Cards," Episodes 1-3: Bloggers With Their Wine

Carrie Frye: Jane, so I was lazing around Saturday morning when I saw a series of ecstatic tweets from you about the amazingness of "House Of Cards." Up till then I'd only been paying dim attention to the show's release (basically, I knew it was a series released on Netflix about Washington politics that, disappointingly, did not seem to feature any secret vampires), but on your word, I tried an episode at lunch. And then, next thing I knew, "Portlandia" Battleship Galactica marathon style, it was dusk… and then it was 10 p.m. and I had no circulation left in my legs.

I'm now on episode 7 and view [...]

31

The Great, Forgotten Sci-Fi Novel About The End Of The World

David Roth: So, tell me again, please, how you found this novel, The Last Western? I know how I found it, which was by you giving me a copy and telling me it was important that I read it.

David Roth: It was like Natalie Portman's "The Shins will change your life" moment in Garden State, except you are shorter, smarter and less pointy than she is, and I am marginally less grumbly-sad than Zach Braff, and you were right and also The Shins couldn't conceivably really change anyone's life.

Maria Bustillos: A guy named Mark Harris went all crazy over it on this listserv I was on back [...]

36

Adam Gopnik And The Bourgeois Guillotine

David Roth: Let's talk about how Adam Gopnik feels about French food.

Maria Bustillos: OMG HE REALLY LIKES IT.

DR: Which is perhaps the least surprising thing one could learn about Adam Gopnik. I guess if it were somehow to be revealed that he is blown away—to the point where he thinks you might also find it fascinating—by some things his kids said at the Museum of Natural History, that might be less surprising. But I'm kind of with him on this one, to a great extent. Who doesn't like food?

MB: Well, you! That is to say, I have noticed that awful food, at least, exerts a [...]